Grades - Redmond,WA

Updated on February 05, 2012
A.L. asks from Redmond, WA
27 answers

Hi. My daughter has always been a good student, getting 3s and 4s in her private school. Last year she moved to a public junior high, and shes an 8th grade now. She has a B- in honors math, and a b in honors english, c- in pe and as in everything else. Her father and I have banned her from reading (its what she loves most, and cant live without) and shes been saying were going too tough on her. Yes I'll admit I scold/yell at her once or twice a week, and I didnt think it would affect her, because shes so strong emotionally. And yet she ends up crying. I tell her its ok and then hug her, but she still feels horrible. Am I going too hard on her?

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

is this a trick question?
what parent of an honors student would seriously ban their child from reading for ANY reason let alone as punishment for not getting As?
i don't buy it. what's actually going on here?
khairete
S.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

Too harsh! I would NEVER take away books and use that as punishment. Take something else away. You need to talk to her and find out why her grades are slipping. As for the PE grade, I was good in school and HATED PE and so I never did well in it because I didn't participate. See if she's struggling with the subjects and see if she needs extra help. Or talk to the teachers to find out how to help her. At this point I wouldn't punish but rather find a way to help her improve her grades.

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A.W.

answers from Seattle on

Maybe a trip to her school counselor to see how as a parent you can help her adjust to the new school and help with her studies.
I don't think you should take away reading....find another thing that is a rather useless thing (Like computer or tv time) if you really feel that her grades warrant this.
8th grade is a tough transition. I think you should find more productive ways to help and support her rather than scold her for her grades. At least they are passing.
An 8th grader is far from being emotionally strong. They are very emotional and impressionable at this age.
I think you need to search out alternatives as what is going on doesn't seem to be productive for either of you.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

You banned her from READING?!
Is this a joke?
If her grades are going down then TALK to her, find out what's going on. Changing schools during the middle school years is VERY hard, she's probably struggling with a lot more than grades :(

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Huh?
Too hard on her? What are you doing? I wouldn't ban her from reading, rather I would have her do something pro-active with PE. Require her to spend 30 minutes outside walking the neighborhood/block, mowing the grass, walking the dog, clipping the rose bushes, pulling weeds, or just doing calisthenics or playing tennis or basketball or something. But don't take away her books! Maybe you could get her some health/fitness books to read.

And why are you so upset about B's in honors math and English? Don't you realize what a change it is going from private to public school? Not just socially (HUGE deal!), but academically as well? We had our kids in private schools for several years and then switched to public. The material they were learning was quite different. Much of the private school curriculum was advanced beyond the public school's, but some of it was just DIFFERENT. Ordered differently in Science and History, especially. And different emphasis even in the math.
And they grade differently, too. My kids would lose lots of points on a paper in their private school for misspelled words, poor paragraph layouts, run-on sentences, or errors in punctuation---even in elementary school. But in public school, the emphasis is more on quantity produced and how it gets them ready for standardized testing and required writing tests. Not the overall work.
Your daughter may need more time to adjust to the different expectations and demands. And how is she adjusting socially? That is a tough, tough age to change schools... the cliques are largely already set, and finding a group of kids to hang out with and be friends with can be a lot of trial and error and stress.
Cut her some slack, let her read, and give her tools to improve whatever she is falling short in.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

She needs your help, not your punishment, wow... Banning reading?? I would have probably run away from home if I had been banned from reading... I don't see anything in your post about what you are doing to support her.

Stop scolding her and work with her. Talk with her, talk with her teachers, work with her to put a plan in place to address whatever issues she's having.

What's more important to her healthy development, specific grades, or general success at making an adjustment to a new school - junior high - no less and a new group of young teens?? Kids at this age are never strong emotionally, they are going through too many changes to be strong. Support your daughter please.

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B.K.

answers from Chicago on

Actually, it sounds like she's doing pretty well to me. You ARE being too tough on her. And to ban her from reading? Crazy.

If she's in honors classes and getting Bs in those, that's really good. And last time I checked Cs were average.

Instead of scolding her and yelling at her, have you asked her why she is struggling in other classes? Have you talked to or e-mailed her teachers to see if they are concerned and if there is anything they could suggest for her... such as study groups, getting extra help before or after school, a tutor, etc. Have you asked them (or her) if she is struggling emotionally with a bigger school? Are kids mean to her? Has she made friends?

Junior high is usually exceptionally tough emotionally, and especially if you switch schools. I would find out from her and her teachers where she is struggling and what you can do to help. And be thankful for the Bs in the hardest classes. Maybe she's having a tough time holding it all together.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Yes.
She is crying because... you... assume... she is "so strong emotionally" that she can take it.
But well she can't.
She is a child.
A Teen.
They NEED to know, that their parent accepts them for who they are, not what they are. They need to know, that they have unconditional love etc.

Your yelling at her once or twice a week, IS getting to her.
It is building up.
In her.
And she now cries.
That is never good.
Even if you hug her and tell her its okay, it does not help.
Because, she thinks, you think, she is not good enough.

I had a parent that was like that.
I HATED.... doing anything with her and then, just didn't tell her anything about my life after awhile. And I only was close with my Dad.
Not my Mom.

To me, your daughter has good decent grades.
No child is a machine. There will always be, fluctuations.
Normal.
Get to know her for her. Not for her grades.

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Please give her back her books. One of the ways children can improve their grades is to read and read a lot.
8th grade is hard. Is she in Algebra? If she is trying then give her some kudos.
Next year she is going into the high school, the expectations are much higher. They are trying to prepare her now.
Take away her electronics, her phone, iPod, computer.
Talk to the teachers, is she doing her best? If she is and you are scolding her she will never feel good enough.
Also moving into a middle school is brutal. It takes a good two years to adjust and next year she will move again into the high school.
Is she in any clubs or sports? HAve her join in the extra curricular activities, not too many but maybe one, softball? tennis? track?
That might seem counterproductive but if she is part of a group and is accepted it is easier to try in areas that are not so easy, like gym class.. Who wants to dress out and run when you are the slowest, awkwardest, newest kid in class.
She needs you right now to accept her. Love her. It's hard when they disappoint us. Make sure her sense of self is OK, then the other stuff will fall into place.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

You are sending a message that she is not good enough.

Elementary grades are super easy compared to Middle school and it gets harder as they go. She needs encouragement not punishment. If she needs help with her work, most schools offer before or after school tutoring for free and you can also hire a tutor to help her.

I would never, ever ban my child from reading. Knowledge is power and reading is so very important.

Yelling does nothing but hurt feelings. Communication is so key and you need to be talking, not yelling. Find out is there is a reason she is having trouble in a subject.

You are setting her up to feel like she can't meet your expectations. She needs you now more than ever, especially in middle school.

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J.S.

answers from Tampa on

I'm very confused. What exactly are you yelling at your child for or taking away her darn books for? Umm, YES. you are WAY TOO Strict! Do you REALIZE that you said she got a B- in HONORS math, a B in HONORS english, a C- in PE (which a C is considered AVERAGE by the way), and all A's in EVERYTHING else?? Why would you punish a child for grades like those??? She actually made the honor roll! Really? Not high honors, but still honor roll! Geez! What do you expect, all A's? Your child is in honors classes, which are harder to start with, and she just changed schools, so add in the stress of having to acclimate to the new school and their curriculum. Throw in to the mix now that her own Mother yells at her "once or twice a week" and she may as well quit trying. I am honestly amazed that she is doing as well as she is. I wold expect the next report card to be worse if you continue to deal with your daughter the way that you are currently. Taking her books away as a punishment seems a little crazy to me. Also, it would be a bit counterproductive if in fact you wanted her to do better in school, since kids who read seem to do much better in school than those who do not spend time reading. I say, give her the books back. Start talking to your daughter more freely and allow her to tell you what is happenning in her lfe, her likes and dislikes about her new school. Does she have and issues at the new school? Has she made any new friends there? If she is struggling socially, she will have issues in academic areas as well, although I believe that she is doing a good job keeping up with her school work as well now. PRAISE her efforts for what she has done, and let her know that she may be dissapointed with the few B's and the ONE c in PE, but you are certain that in time she will bring those back up to her "usual A's". Also, let her know that not everyone is an athlete, so she may not get an A in PE, but I would also contact the school to see exactly how they are grading for that and make sure that she has what she needs to at least be able to dress out for the class. She may even be able to take a different special in it's place if she met that requirement earlier at her private school. Good luck, and try to go a little easier on her. This can be a difficult age, but it sounds like you have an amazing girl there. I wouldn't want to see her switch gears out of frustration!

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E.S.

answers from Boston on

Hi! While I understand taking away something that means something to her I can in no way understand why you would want her to not read. Reading is the most important thing she can do. She can learn writing, spelling, history, decision making, science, oh everything from reading. What is she doing with all her time if she can't read? There is a HUGE difference between elementary school and junior high and an even bigger difference from a private school. And then there is that girly hormone thing that is surely kicking in. Why not try helping her if she is struggling rather than making her even more miserable? School doesn't get easier, it gets harder. if you can't help her, find someone who can. Oh, and heavens, give her back her books, they contain the education she needs...

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

You say you yell and scold her once or twice a week and you didn't think that would affect her? How can that not affect her? You and her father are the people she loves the most in the world - everything you do affects her. She feels like she has disappointed the people who mean the most to her. Of course it hurts her.

And telling her it's okay and hugging her after the fact doesn't change anything. Once words are out, they can't be sucked back in and the damage is done. No amount of heartfelt "I'm sorry" is going to erase the words from her memory.

You need to remember that she's probably not getting the same academic support in public school as she was getting in private school and it's obviously making a difference. Perhaps you can offer to help her with her homework or get her a tutor.

And I would never "ban" a child from reading. No matter what she's reading, she's improving her reading and comprehension skills so to me banning reading is counter-productive.

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A.G.

answers from Seattle on

If I were you, I would consider the possibility that something else is going on. School has always been easy, now she is having trouble. She has been strong emotionally and now she cries when you scold her. There could be problems at school, with friends, with the changes involved in growing up. Rather than try to punish her into getting good grades, try to find out what is going on.

Another thing to consider is the different nature of the grading systems. In a 1 2 3 4 system, 3 means at grade level. 4 means above grade level. There is a range of what at grade level can mean. On the WASL, a 68% gets a 3. Once you move to letter grades, it is percentages, so that effort that got you a 3 on the WASL is now getting you a D in math.

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Sorry, but banning her from books is counterproductive. If you're concerned about her grades, sit down with her, for every homework session, and be available to answer any questions. Don't look over her shoulder, just pay bills or something, but be right there with her and make sure she's focusing/concentrating. When she says she's done, look over her work. Don't correct errors for her, but do say, "I think you need to look at this question/area again." When she has a test coming up, quiz her. When homework is really, truly finished, she can read on her own as a reward. Oh, and talk to her teachers. Ask, are there any particular areas where "Emily" is struggling? What do you recommend?

In other words, it's fantastic that she's a reader. Make that a reward, not a punishment.

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C.H.

answers from Seattle on

Perhaps you should stand back and consider the added pressures and stress public school brings. Clearly it has been a shock for her. Maybe try a different approach and see what's going on at school( bullying, stress to fit in, clothes, shoes, etc). We look back and remember jr high and highschool as easy but when your in it things don't appear the same. Open up the lines of communication. Good luck!

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

I think that you might be sending her a message that unless she gets perfect grades, she is not good enough. This can really affect her confidence and self esteem. She's in honors classes- you should be proud of her and support her. She might be feeling overwhelmed. I also would never take away reading as a punishment. Electronics, yes. Books, no. You can make a rule that she may not read her books until all of her homework is done first. But reading will support her language skills and advance her vocabulary and writing ability. It's good to have high expectations for kids, but it has to be done in a loving, supportive way- not with scolding and punishment. My oldest is only in 1st grade and is hard on herself about doing "perfect" work. I always tell her that I am proud of her for just trying her best, and making mistakes is how people learn. Best wishes to you and your daughter- jr. high & high school can be very difficult years for kids!

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K.N.

answers from Boston on

Is she doing her personal best for this year's work? If she is, then the grades don't matter. If she isn't, then something needs to change.

For what it's worth, my kids found a HUGE jump between 7th grade math and the 8th grade honors program. For them, that was the first year honors was available (a very fast paced Algebra I course). Although it was the absolute right class for each of them, it was awfully, awfully hard and the first time they realized they might actually have to WORK -- and work hard on a daily basis -- to earn an A (which, by the way, I don't think they ever got!).

Eighth grade is a really tough time, especially for girls. The junior high years are filled with peer issues that tend to iron themselves out by late 9th grade. Although as adults, we realize that the social/friend stuff and the learning work need to be separate, kids are just learning this and most of them aren't good at it. It's a new skill that takes time to develop.

Yes, she needs to learn how to work, how to prioritize her time and how to always do her best work, regardless of what she wants to do, what her friends are doing or what other distractions are occurring. Yes, her parents need to help her develop these skills.

Yes, she may have been an emotionally strong kid and she'll probably be an emotionally strong adult. Very few kids are emotionally strong at this age. They tend to be more sensitive as they encounter obstacles, many for the first time. Have patience. Remember to strike a balance as both her cheerleader and her disciplinarian.

Physical activity is really, really important. It will really help her sort out her feelings and give her some mental and physical energy, which she'll need to attack the academics to her best ability.

Have you tried limiting her reading rather than eliminating it? The mental escape of reading is important (in addition to the cognitive development it encourages). Can you negotiate an amount of reading time that you feel is acceptable? Maybe she gets 30 minutes of reading before bed if her homework is done well and by a certain time. Maybe she can earn bonus reading time if she gets what you feel is a reasonable score on her next quiz. I agree with withholding fun time, even if it's in a quality endeavor, as a discipline measure -- but I think it's better to use it as a reward tool than to take it away entirely. Not everything has to be black & white.

With my kids, I used to try to cut them some slack -- but not too much. Sometimes, finding that balance can be tricky & only you will know what it is for your family. Try & think of it as a team effort where everyone works together for the same goal, rather than an adversarial effort where you and your daughter are in opposition.

Take a breath. It's very hard to be her in eighth grade, but it can also be very hard to be her mama! It really WILL be OK.

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A.G.

answers from Dallas on

I would be concerned about her grades, but would handle it a bit differently.

Find out why she's struggling, and figure out how to help her. Does she need tutoring, or do they grade differently in this school? Is she having trouble adjusting to the change in schools? Is she expected to know material they may not have covered in her previous school? Is she having difficulty with certain teachers? Help her work through any issues she may be having. She needs to know you are on her side. Yelling probably isn't helping the situation.

My son is in the 8th grade, and is in all pre-AP classes. He has always made all As, but this year he is really struggling in math. I have also always had a tough time with math. He's passing, but he has been making Bs and Cs all year. Instead of getting angry, my husband and I have been helping him. We met with his teacher to get some insight into how he is doing in school, and she gave us some tips on how to help him at home. We make sure he works on it regularly at home, even when he doesn't have math homework. We've accepted that he isn't an A math student right now, but he's doing his best, and we're proud of him for that.

I hope your daughter finishes the semester on a positive note.

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K.S.

answers from Detroit on

Check to see whether she has been battling depression since the switch in schools. Has she gained new friends at the new school? Is she staying as busy as she was in her free time before the switch?

Is the work more difficult? Does she need a tutor?

Be willing to explore different reasons for them.

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Y.C.

answers from Orlando on

Could it be possible that her old school wasn't as good as the new one and she needs help to catch up.
I am saying this because that is exactly what happened to us.
We just move to a new home and we change our daughter from private school to public, I would think that the school we pay would be above the public but not even close, the private was "very" behind. To add, in this public school they have to write in every single class, including PE and ART, while in the privet school they didn't.
It was a big change for my daughter, and add to that, she misses her old friends. That is a lot of changes. She may just is having a very hard time in her new school (no friends?) that could also being affecting her.
Are you getting involve in her new school? Meet with her teachers?
Perhaps she is actually doing great considered how behind she was.
As for the punishment, well this is tricky, because first you should figure it out why she is falling behind.
And it is kind of difficult because even if you spouse to punish them with something they like, reading is actually very good for them.
I am not trying to say you are bad, I think (actually, I know) is always easier to know what to do from the outside, but I really think you should try to figure it out why she is lowering her grades before anything else.
PS: I didn't understand if you said that she is getting C's in PE AND as anything else, or C in PE and A's in everything else? That is a big difference to me too.

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S.L.

answers from San Francisco on

OK. I have also been accused of being too tough on my kid, so I get where you're coming from. Take whatever you like from my comments, but know that I can be as tough as they come...

1. Do not ban from reading. Language input, any language input, is a good thing for writing skills. If it's interfering with study time, that's different. But when homework is finished, books are a great alternative to TV.

2. Private schools have different curricula from public and may not be beholden to anyone but the parents...who write the checks, by the way. NOT saying they are all like that, but I've heard this...There are good and bad, just as in public schools.

3. C- in PE happens. I told my kid to at least make it look like she was trying to be in the vicinity of the ball, be quiet when the teacher was talking, dress down every day, and run the mile without complaining. That brought her grade up considerably.

4. Got a tutor for my daughter in math. It's just not as easy for her as the other subjects. My rule of thumb is: if she's trying her hardest and turning everything in on time, I'm ok with that. If she's not, or she's slacking on assignments, her phone gets taken away and she is MIA from social engagements until we are back on track. We just had a little "readjustment of priorities" this week, and it has been peaks and valleys since middle school started.. But she is a good kid and I'm sure yours is too. Good luck--and give yourself a pat on the back for at least caring : )

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

If she has B in honors English, she needs to read more. The more the better. I do not see any big problem here with her grades. Sit down with her and pull up her math. Who cares about PE? Many girls at that age hate PE. My son, also in 8th grade, he is a swimmer, does judo and karate and he just got C on his PE... go figure. As for punishment, I do not like the word punishment, I like to call it performance improvement, may I suggest a sport enrollment to get her on track? And tell her more how good she is. Trust me it helps. My son is very lazy and we check him, remind him and work with his constantly. Between ourselves we know that his grades are 60% our achievement, but we praise him every chance we have (we also add criticism for a good measure as well, but praise comes first). You know why, because 4 years ago, his grades were 90% our achievement, he is getting better, he is a good student, he got used to that and he sees himself that way. Once in a while we forget to check - and he does the work himself! The kids do get better, more responsible with or without you - it is just that growth happens. Your daughter seems to be a very good girl already - celebrate!

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C.M.

answers from Washington DC on

honestly, it does sound to me like you are too tough. How can you ban your kid from reading? Reading is good for her. I was never a good reader, but my daughter who is 6 LOVES to read any chance she can get and I encourage that! Her grades are actually pretty good. I see nothing wrong with C's. They are average, which is totally fine. B's are great! I don't see the problem here. You should not be scolding her. My dad was verbally abusive to me growing up and I hated him for it. We are ok now though and have talked through it some. You know, when you yell and scold her, she will tune you out and not even hear what you are saying. If you talk to her like a real person and with the love and respect she needs then she might hear you more. Would you like it if your husband (or someone you love and is very close to you) hurt you over and over but right after they said they still love you, would you really believe them if they just kept doing it 2 + times a week? You would become scarred and damaged and it would tear you down emotionally. Do not scold your daughter anymore. Build her up with love and kindness and treat her they way you would want to be treated. Good luck and lighten up

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M.F.

answers from Portland on

Ummm... you're mad that she is passing her classes?
I am confused??
She is getting A's and B's and a C in PE (which doesn't matter)...

WHY are you yelling at her and punishing her??
I am happy as long as I know my kid is trying, that is all I ask.
Mine doesn't get grades yet, but I would be thrilled to pieces with the grades you listed...

I got mostly C's and B's in school, except English, I was advanced, my parents dealt with the fact that I am bad at math and focused on the positive.

I really don't understand your "approach"... ?

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M.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

It was super easy to get good grades in grammar school ~ not so much in the higher grades. If she is doing her best, congrats to her. If there is something she could improve on in your opinion, do that. They really are all different. I believe it's all about the effort.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I would think you are making learning a punishment to her. She may be gifted in some areas but that doesn't mean she is struggling in others.

My niece had to do the Sylvan Learning Center for reading and spelling but she was in a gifted program for math.

I can't say what I would do in this instance but perhaps talking to the teachers about what she is like in class might help. Is she paying attention, is she asking questions, is she goofing off with friends that she might need to be separated from next year, all kinds of things. It may be too that her learning style is different from how those teachers are teaching her.

My ACT scores in reading and some other areas were in the 20ish area. My math was a 7...years later I had a psychologist test me and I have some learning issues in math due to how it was taught to me. Not a glitch in the brain but how I process the numbers and processes. I had to do some serious work with an educational tutor. I flunked beginning algebra 2 times and after working with the tutor I passed it with a B-, once I left the tutoring program I flunked out of intermediate and changed my major to Sociology and passed College Math just fine.

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